Tennis coach Judy Murray officially launched the 2014 Scottish Poppy Appeal at Stirling Castle.

Calling for the public to give as much money as they can during the two-week campaign, Judy was joined by an Armed Forces family from Stirling. Billy Adams currently serves in the Royal Navy, wife Cheryl is a Navy veteran and their 11-year-old daughter Megan found musical fame last year as part of the Poppy Girls.

Judy’s father Roy Erskine served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, her grandfather Andrew Erskine was in the Royal Engineers while grandfather Jock Edney served in the RAF.

Poppyscotland, the charity that organises the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal, uses money raised to provide vital support to the Armed Forces community in Scotland. This includes specialist advice and employment support, home adaptations, mobility aids and tailored funding packages. The charity is aiming to raise even more money this year to continue to deliver support to those who need it most.

Speaking at the launch, Judy said: “We wear our poppies in tribute to those who have lost their lives but by donating to the Scottish Poppy Appeal we can also make sure that our Servicemen and women, past and present, and their families get the support that they need and deserve. I hope that people get behind this year’s campaign and give as much as they can because it really will make a difference.”

One of Poppyscotland’s services includes offering specialist advice to help families cope while their loved ones are away on operations. Lieutenant Commander Billy Adams (44) is currently in the Royal Navy, based at Rosyth, but regular deployment means he can be away from home for six or seven months at a time. Wife Cheryl (40) was also in the Navy but left in 1997. Megan has moved house three times while elder sister Caitlin (14) has experience of nine house moves and five different schools.

Megan said: “I am really proud of my dad but we all miss him when he’s away. It’s important to support the Scottish Poppy Appeal because I know it will be there to help me and my family if we need it.”

Colin Flinn, Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland, summed up the campaign, saying: “This year’s campaign is a clear call to action. The Armed Forces community needs the Scottish Poppy Appeal and we need you. We were founded in the aftermath of the First World War and we’re still here today. We need to be there for the long haul so that veterans and their families can turn to us for help at any stage in their lives.”

The Scottish Poppy Appeal is Scotland’s biggest street collection and runs until 11th November. A TV, radio and outdoor advertising campaign that aims to encourage the public to donate is underway. Numerous activities will be taking place during the next two weeks, including projecting poppies on to Stirling Castle on 3rd November, lighting up structures and buildings in red and opening Fields of Remembrance in Edinburgh and Inverness. They are already preparing in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens next to the Scott Monument, and the Garden of Remembrance opens there on 3 November.

People can donate to the Scottish Poppy Appeal by putting money in the poppy tins, texting POPPY to 70800 to donate £3* or going online at www.poppyscotland.org.uk